How To Make Really Great Pizza at Home

As a person who’s devoted most of my life to food, I have certain beliefs that I fervently hold on to. One: never grill chicken breasts for a dinner party. That’s depressing. Two: When baking with chocolate, it’s important to eat a quarter cup of the chocolate in its raw state. Quality control. And three: there’s absolutely no reason to make pizza at home. Order in, it’ll be better.

Pause on that last one. Recently, I felt inspired to try my hand at homemade pizza again after many unimpressive efforts from the past, earning comments like this one:

Nicholas Bergus had a point. I never quite got the dough thin enough, giving up on stretching it while it still looked rather puffy. The resulting pizza was, as Nicholas Bergus says, “more like focaccia than pizza.” When the internet trolls are right, you know you’re doing something wrong.

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Spiced Pork Chops with Delicata Squash and Apple Chutney

Making new friends is always a treat but difficult to do when you’re supposed to avoid social gatherings and remain six feet apart while masked. Luckily, I made two new friends last year when the food writer Ben Mims and his partner J made the same move that we made back in 2011 from New York to L.A.

Ben moved here to write for the L.A. Times (his recipes are top notch; I made his tamarind lamb shanks last night and they were dreamy); we met for dinner at a steakhouse on Hollywood and Vine and he told hilarious stories about growing up in Mississippi, then told even funnier stories on my podcast Lunch Therapy.

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Tomato Salad Shakshuka

The greatest sin you can commit at any dinner party, as far as I’m concerned, is to not have enough food. ALWAYS, ALWAYS make too much. There are two reasons for this: 1. No one ever leaves a dinner party saying, “My oh my, there were far too many delicious things to eat!” and 2. Whatever doesn’t get eaten, you can use the next day.

And sometimes — not always, but sometimes — the thing that you make the next day is even better than the thing you made for the dinner party. Case in point: this tomato salad shakshuka which, hyperbole police alert, may be the single best thing that I’ve cooked this year.

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